Bungalow at the beach – which type of flooring is best?
Coastline flooring comes with its own considerations. This is something we at Floorsmart feel confidently poised to present our position on, as we’ve operated in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and KwaZulu-Natal intensively for many years. As such, we’ve been able to observe the rigours of wear and tear on various coastal floor types for many years, and also been able to assess the impact that evolving technology has had on these floors.
General considerations for your laminate floor in Ballito or wooden flooring in Umhlanga
Your floor in Umhlanga, Ballito or Port Shepstone needs to take into account the moderate climate and high humidity levels. Unlike on the rugged west coast of South Africa, for example, where the winters come with blistering wind storms and icy Atlantic cold, east coast homes don’t need their floors to warm up the space. On the west coast – the floor needs to have a warmth not just underfoot but in aesthetic look as well – or a cold interior ambience may be the unexpected result.
Wooden floors and engineered wood floors
You may be tempted to install a wooden floor in Ballito or Umhlanga. Wood has a timeless, almost bespoke feel and if you have the budget, why not? After all, your coastal home may be your second, luxury home, and you may want to infuse it with a hint of opulence.
Do consider the KwaZulu-Natal climate though. This moisture-rich climate is bound to make your wooden floor expand and contract as the air goes from moist to dry. There is no doubt that this climate permeates into your home. In any event, most of the coastal homes we’ve installed flooring at tend to make the most of the view with wide windows that allow for as much light and airplay as possible.
Why does wood shrink and expand? The sap in the cell cavities means that wood retains moisture. It is also retained in the wood fibres. This trapped moisture causes the expansion. Once the water evaporates, the wood contracts. So, your wood floor in Port Shepstone may come with some maintenance.
This is why if a client asks for a wooden floor in Umhlanga, we often suggest an engineered wood floor instead. It expands and contracts up to 70% less than a solid wood floor. The best of wood’s beauty (and a genuine wood top layer) with the best of weather-beating engineering.
Bamboo is still a relative newcomer to the world of flooring but what it lacks in terms of having been around the block, it makes up for in eco-sustainability and its budget-beating cost. It must be properly installed though – at Floorsmart, we definitely recommend professional installation for this underfoot type. It is modern, stylish and reminiscent of the tropics. Your bamboo floor in Umhlanga is bound to evoke scenes of a sub-tropical paradise. Similarly, your bamboo floor in Ballito will be easy to maintain, and you can refinish it as many times as you need to – where as with wood this is not possible to the same extent.
Vinyl and laminate floors
Both of these floors are so versatile – and the range goes anywhere from entry level to premium. Whether you’re installing a vinyl floor in Ballito or a laminate floor in Port Shepstone, your budget will benefit and the good-looking appeal is not far off either.
The major consideration to remember is that vinyl fends off moisture much more easily. You do not want laminate near a back stable-door in case of rain or excess moisture from the sea or constant wet feet puddles. At Floorsmart, for coastal homes, we recommend that when choosing your vinyl floor, you use a sealant as well for high-level moisture protection.